May 19, 2011

Several energetic storms...

Thom and I got to Hays about the time that the tornadic storm north of Russell had a beautiful hook...but it was also moving into colder air. It was part of a discontinuous line of storms extending from north of I70 to about 40 miles south. There was a break in the line on I70, and our intent was to punch through to the other side and then drive north to either the first cell or the second one that now was tornado warned. But, the area filled in, and we had a half hour of driving through torrential rain....with the GRLevel signal dropping out, and also Mobile Threatnet missing every other scan. By the time we cleared the line...almost to 20 miles west of Salina, the first storm had croaked, and the second one was a gigantic HP mess. 

We kept our eyes on the Pratt area...because the bubbling cumulus field down there seemed sure to erupt.   We stayed with it as it was producing strong mesocyclones and tornado warnings near LIncoln. We saw some supercellular structures embedded in the rain, but nothing too dramatic. We also dropped down to the next storm to cross I70....that developed a hook...and parked ourselves and stayed with the inflow notch for a half hour or so....but the inflow base looked ragged and never showed much sign of rotation.  The radar image shown above shows the mesocyclones and the hook (as well as Mobile ThreatNet can depict it).  The yellow range rings really are centered on the GPS location of our car (with the rings at 5 mile intervals).  Note that we were in "the" location to witness any tornado....but it was not to be.

We soon gave up and dropped south to Salina. All in all, kind of a waste of the great potential this pattern had.